George the Printmaker

What is Ikigai?

One of my future projects will reference Ikigai, a philosophical approach I have used to in developing my own path and vocational focus. It will be called “My Ikigai”. I thought it would be useful to provide some background on the practice of Ikigai and the methodology behind it.

Ikigai is a Japanese word. The word literally consists of iki (to live) and gai (reason). Effectively your “life purpose” or “raison d’être.” Ikigai refers to defining your personal meaning of life in relation to your talents, passions, and profession, as well as what you can give to the wider world.

Wikipedia summarises Ikigai as creating a sense of purpose in life, as well as being motivated. According to a study by Michiko Kumano, the feeling ikigai, as described in Japanese, usually means the feeling of accomplishment and fulfilment that follows when people pursue their passions. Activities that generate the feeling of ikigai are not forced on an individual; they are perceived as being spontaneous and undertaken willingly, and thus are personal and depend on a person’s inner self.

Ken Mogi, the author of “Awakening Your Ikgai” says:

  • “You really need to find your own private way to reach a very universal goal. In order to do that, you really need to know yourself.”
  • “After all, people can get to realise what they are only through realizing that they are different people from other people.”
  • “Finding your ikigai is a process of self-reflection.”

The five pillars of ikigai are:

  • Pillar 1: Starting small
  • Pillar 2: Releasing yourself
  • Pillar 3: Harmony and sustainability
  • Pillar 4: The joy of small things
  • Pillar 5: Being in the here and now
  • Ikigai represents the Japanese wisdom of life, the sensitivities and manners of action that have been uniquely pertinent in Japanese society, and that have evolved over hundreds of years within the closely knit society of the island nation.”
  • It is about discovering, defining, and appreciating those of life’s pleasures that have meaning for you.”
  • “It is what gives you an ongoing motivation for living your life, or you could also say that it gives you the appetite for life that makes you eager to greet each new day.”
  • “Simple lifestyle choices give clues as to what constitutes the very essence of ikigai: a sense of community, a balanced diet, and an awareness of spirituality.”
  • “Because ikigai just reinforces your already-held intuitions, the change will be gradual and modest, like life itself.”
  • “Ikigai gives your life a purpose while giving you the grit to carry on.”

Why not start to work on your Ikigai? 🙂

I will post more as the project begins to take shape.

Ciao for now, GG

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